FC Dallas puts out fire with 3-0 victory

FC Dallas puts out fire with 3-0 victory

Saturday, Oct. 1, 2010
11:06 PM

Associated Press

FRISCO, Texas (AP)Jeff Cunningham scored on a penalty kick in the 67th minute to tie the MLS career goal-scoring record, and FC Dallas equaled the longest single-season unbeaten streak in league history with a 3-0 victory over the Chicago Fire on Saturday night.

Dallas clinched a playoff spot for the first time since 2007 by running its streak to 18 games (10-0-8), tying Columbus 2004 mark for the longest run without a loss.

What a great night for FC Dallas, said coach Schellas Hyndman, who was hired in June 2008. We worked so hard in the last two years to be in this position, to clinch a playoff spot and Ive lost a lot of sleep. It was very stressful when things didnt go well at the beginning. The words I always used, we wanted to develop a culture of winning and I think we have that here now.

Cunningham, who won the MLS Golden Boot Award last year for leading the league with 17 goals, scored his 11th of the season and 132nd of his career, tying DC United veteran Jaime Moreno.

Chicago fell to 1-6-2 in its last nine and will likely miss the postseason. The Fire, who were shut out for the fifth time in six games, are 3-12-1 in Dallas.

It was a difficult match, Fire coach Carlos de los Cabos said. We played against one of the best teams in the league this season. We started well in the match and had chances to score. I think that the second half was more difficult for us because Dallas played better.

With Dallas ahead 2-0, Cunningham sealed the triumph with his penalty kick goal. After Fire defender Dasan Robinson pulled him down in the penalty area, Cunningham stepped up to the dot with a slight hesitation before slotting a low shot just inside the left goal post.

Cunningham, who hasnt spoken to the media since he lost his spot in the starting 11 earlier in the season, entered the match in the 57th minute and found the back of the net for the seventh time in the last nine games.

Its unbelievable, midfielder Dax McCarty said of Cunninghams career numbers. Jeff is a top professional, he takes care of himself really well. Hes just a great goal-scorer, theres no other way to put it. He works really hard in training, and hes kind of found his niche for us, coming in the second half when other teams are tired, and he really takes advantage of it.

Milton Rodriguez scored his fourth goal of the season in the 19th minute and Marvin Chavez connected for his second of the year, both in the last two games, about 30 seconds into the second half.

Dario Sala made two saves in recording his first shutout of the season and 23rd of his six-year MLS career. Sala, playing his third straight game in place of injured starter Kevin Hartman, even earned his second career assist when a free kick he boomed from just outside his own penalty area led to Rodriguezs goal.

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Horace Grant on current state of Bulls: 'No need to panic'

Horace Grant on current state of Bulls: 'No need to panic'

After the Bulls got off to a 3-0 start, it looked like this would be a team that might be able to give LeBron James and the defending champion Cleveland Cavaliers a run for their money in the Eastern Conference.

The Bulls proceeded to lose their next three, tempering those optimistic expectations. What those first six games proved is that they're an inconsistent bunch, and it's been a microcosm of their season past the halfway mark.

[SHOP: Gear up, Bulls fans!]

Entering Thursday, the Bulls were slotted in as the No. 8 seed in the East with a 21-22 record through 43 games.

Former Bulls forward/center Horace Grant, who was named a special advisor to president and chief operating officer Michael Reinsdorf last year, joined SportsTalk Live on Thursday to talk about the team's current state, and why Bulls fans shouldn't panic just yet.

Check out his comments in the video above.

See what else he had to say during his SportsTalk Live appearance and on In The Loop below:

Jimmy Butler acknowledges 'huge accomplishment' but stays nonchalant about All-Star starter nod

Jimmy Butler acknowledges 'huge accomplishment' but stays nonchalant about All-Star starter nod

ATLANTA — Jimmy Butler insisted being a starter in the All-Star Game means next to nothing, but it seems to go against his never-ending battle for credibility and validation as a legit superstar.

Moments after it was revealed he would be an All-Star starter for the first time and make his third overall trip to All-Star weekend, he sang the same nonchalant tune.

"It hasn't changed at all," Butler said on a conference call Thursday evening. "Obviously, it's a huge accomplishment and honor to be named a starter. But it's All-Star weekend. There are going to be a lot of good players there. I guess it's just another name thrown in with some decent players."

The NBA's format for selecting the All-Star starters changed this season, with fans no longer being the sole group that gets to vote for starters. If it was still a fans-only vote, Philadelphia's Joel Embiid would've started in Butler's place.

But with the new formula that allows the media and the players to take part in the vote, the fan vote accounts for just 50 percent of the formula. So Butler joined Cleveland's LeBron James and Kyrie Irving, Milwaukee's Giannis Antekounmpo and Toronto's DeMar DeRozan in the starting five for the Eastern Conference.

Butler's is averaging 24.8 points with 6.8 rebounds and 4.8 assists, career-highs across the board, and had he not been selected as a starter, the Bulls' 20-21 record would not have prevented coaches from selecting him as a reserve as they had the last two seasons.

[SHOP BULLS: Get a Jimmy Butler jersey right here]

He won't be joined in the starting lineup by Dwyane Wade, who finished second in backcourt voting behind Irving, but cast his vote for his teammate anyway and hopes Wade will be selected as a reserve.

"Of course. He's been a huge part of what we're doing here, and I think he has played extremely well the first part of the season," Butler said. "He got my vote. I will tell you that."

Golden State's Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant will start for the West, along with Houston's James Harden, San Antonio's Kawhi Leonard and New Orleans' Anthony Davis, a Chicago native.

The fun-filled and busy weekend in New Orleans begins Feb. 17, from the league events to the parties to the festivities and then finally the All-Star Game on Sunday night.

Butler likely views it as more of an accomplishment for his team of trainers and confidants then himself.

"It's fun, man. You get to know the other really good players in the league, and you get to know a little bit about them," Butler said. "And the experience that you get to be a part of, whether it be the Jordan party or taking your guys with you everywhere. That's the most fun part for me, my trainers, my brothers, everybody that's behind the scenes helping me gets to experience it too."